King David, the Remix

1 Chronicles 1:1

The first few pages of 1 Chronicles, consist of one giant list of who begat whom. Each tribe is listed, as well as the names of the sons of the founder of each tribe. Many also list how many fighting men were available in each tribe. Here and there, they even list daughters, if she did something super important. It is boring; do not, for any reason, read the first ten pages of 1 Chronicles. Unless you’re desperately trying to fall asleep, in which case have at it.

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It doesn’t get much better after the begat section. It is pretty much just going back over what we’ve already read. Like SparkNotes for a bunch of the prior books. It goes back over Saul’s death and restates that he died and lost his kingship, because he did not keep the word of God. He also consulted a medium, which is naughty.

As we know, David then became king. He soon conquered and settled Jerusalem as his capitol city. This section goes into more detail about David’s “mighty men.” Remember the mighty men? Some of them risked their damn lives to get water for David, and then he refused to drink because they had risked their damn lives for it? Yeah, more of those guys. They pretty much killed a lot of people, were super famous and lived like bearded rockstars.

This section also explains where David got many of his followers and how he formed an army to fight against Saul. Basically, random guys from all of the tribes defected and came to David’s side. Random guys who numbered in the hundreds of thousands, by the way. And those were just the ones who actually left their homes to join David; pretty much everybody wanted David to be their king. Most of the people who couldn’t physically leave and go tot David to fight at his side at least sent food and other materials for him and his men.

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One thing that David did that was way popular and earned him quite a few followers, was to bring out the Ark of the Covenant, or the Ark thing from the Indiana Jones movie. Before, it was explained that he brought the Ark thing to Jerusalem after he settled there, but apparently he had it before then as well. I don’t know how or why. Saul seems to have had little interest in it.

Once David has replaced Saul as the king, we get a more in depth look at David bringing the Ark thing to Jerusalem, after he’s built his palace of course. The Ark doesn’t get a palace though; it gets a tent. Then David hired a bunch of Levites to “sing joyful songs,” and threw one hell of a party to celebrate the Ark thing. There’s actually a breakdown of every dude who played joyfully and what they played. For instance: Ethan played the bronze cymbals, the lucky dude. As we already know, David lead the Ark thing into town by dancing like nothing anyone would ever see again until Flashdance. (See photo above. Yes, that’s supposed to be David in the middle. Try looking at it for 30 seconds without cracking a smile. Try. You can’t do it. You’re welcome.)

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Then David gives his “Psalm of Thanks.” It’s a nice speech; it talks about how awesome God is, and how they needed to thank him for everything He had provided. The name of the speech says it all really. Once finished, the Israelites responded with “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”

After everyone goes home from the Ark party (I skipped over the very large amounts of animals sacrificed), David decides he wants to build a temple for the Ark thing, but God doesn’t want one yet. Through a prophet, God tells David not to build the temple and that his son will be the one to do that. He also talks about how David and his descendants will rule forever. Which we know isn’t true, but honestly, what choice does God have after so many generations of assholes?

David does a long prayer to God about how great He is, and afterward, we get another run down of all of the armies that David defeated, the people he had killed, the cities he enslaved and the treasures he had collected. He also hamstrung a lot of horses (that awful practice where they cut the horse’s hamstring and left it there to die slowly). Remember that story about David having all of the fighting men in Israel counted, how it was really evil in the eyes of God and how David decided to let God punish his people with the plague because of his own mistake? We’re back at that story, and according to this telling of it “Satan rose up” and “incited” David to do it.

This is the first time that Satan has come up at all. And looking back, you might recall that the telling of this story from 2 Samuel said that, “the anger of the Lord burned against Israel and He incited David against them.” In one telling, God started the trouble, but in this telling Satan is the troublemaker. So what does that mean? Doing some research, I found many who interpret it to mean that God controls Satan and fulfills His will though him. I dunno. To me, it seems like two different authors trying to write about things that they really cannot understand and taking different guesses as to why David would do something so stupid.

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As David neared the end of his life, he made a lot of preparations for the temple that his son, Solomon was to build. Most of the materials used, it seems, were actually gathered by David and not Solomon. It also clarifies why David did not get to build the temple himself; he had spilled too much blood. And remember, this is the guy to whom God holds the standard of future kings. This is the guy that is supposed to be super awesome and guilty of little to no sin. (You’ll notice that this version of David’s life left out the part where he had a guy killed to marry a woman he had already impregnated.)

David also set up the organization and staff for the temple that his son would build. He mapped out every position that could be held: musicians, gatekeepers, priests and other officials. He did the same for the army, organizing and staffing it. He set officers for each tribe as well. How were these positions decided upon? Surely David chose based on who suited what office/position best? Wrong. Most of them were chosen by “casting lots” or basically drawing sticks. No wonder this nation went awry.

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After filling all of those important positions, David called all of his new appointments together. He told them that his son, Solomon, would be building the temple that David had wished to build. David even had all of the plans and sketches drawn out, which he gave to Solomon. David claims that God worked through him to create those plans, but I’m calling BS. David is just a little too obsessed with the temple and seems very put out that he couldn’t build it himself. I think he has some control issues on this one and wanted to decide every last detail himself. He also tells Solomon to be strong and do the work set in front of him, and that the people will ” obey your every command.” Yeah, right.

David then officially gifted all of his riches that he had collected throughout his life to the building of the temple. It was a lot. He also asked that his new appointments give healthy amounts as well, which they did. The people rejoiced that their leaders gave so much.

Afterward, Solomon was anointed as the new king of Israel and David dies. David ruled for forty years and lived to an old age. Next up, 2 Chronicles, or more repeat stuff that we’ve already been over once!

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God Makes Good on His Promises to Ruin Absolutely Everyone

2 Kings 17:7

So the Israelis have been captured and taken to Assyria to be slaves. Why? Because they were very naughty. For generations, they refused to trust God and live by his laws. They worshipped foreign gods, built altars and temples to them and sacrificed their children to those gods. So God sent them away from His presence. And as of the writing of the Bible, they were still there, in Assyria, held as slaves.

Having pretty much emptied out Israel, the King of Assyria sent some of his own people to live there. They were living within the Lord’s land, but they were not serving the Lord, they were serving their foreign gods instead. God no likey, so He sent in lions to attack and kill the Assyrians living in His land. When the king of Assyria was told what was happening, he sent one of the captured Israelites, a priest, to go back and teach the Assyrian people how to please God. It didn’t work, and the people continued worshipping whomever the hell they wanted. And then nothing really happens.

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What happened to the tribe of Judah, you might be asking. When we left them last, Hezekiah had become king over Judah. Hezekiah was a stand up guy; he followed all of the Lord’s commandments and laws. He destroyed all of the temples and altars erected for other gods. Because of this, Hezekiah was successful in all he did. Except that one time, when Assyria attacked Jerusalem, and it looked like they were going to take the city. Luckily, as the Israelites had so often done, Hezekiah struck a deal with the Assyrian King. He paid him in gold from Solomon’s temple. How there is any left, I don’t know. That place has been ransacked more times than I can recount. And why if Hezekiah was such a great dude, God allowed the Assyrians to attack and almost defeat Hezekiah and his people, I do not know.

Anyway, the King of Assyria decided to try a different tactic in taking Jerusalem. He sent some of his commanders to Jerusalem to talk to the Israelites in that city. The Assyrians threatened the people, saying that their king had defeated many peoples and many gods, how would Judah be any different? They told the Israelites that they would take them to a nice land with olives and stuff, or they could fight Assyria and die. The Israelites , terrified out of their minds, did not respond.

Hezekiah went to Solomon’s temple at once to pray to God. God was not impressed by the threats of the Assyrians. In fact, He was really pissed off. That night, God “went out and put to death a 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp.” This broke the will of Assyria’s King, and he led his men back to his own land. God wasn’t done with him though; this particular Assyrian King (his name is Sennacherib, see why I’ve avoided typing some of these names?) was later killed by two of his own sons.

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Sometime later, Hezekiah became very ill. The prophet Isaiah told Hezekiah that he would surely die, but Hezekiah called out to the Lord, reminding him that he had been a faithful servant. God changed his mind, and Isaiah helped to heal Hezekiah.

A foreign king, the King of Babylon, heard that Hezekiah had been ill and sent messengers and gifts to him in Jerusalem. Hezekiah greeted them kindly and showed them all that he had. Somehow, he had a lot of riches to show them. The way that Israeli kings go through treasure, they must have had fucking Rumpelstiltskin hidden somewhere. The Babylonian messengers were very impressed by all that they had seen and departed to go back home. Isaiah was not pleased with Hezekiah; he told Hezekiah that all he had shown the messengers, all of the riches of Judah (and even some Hezekiah’s sons) would be captured and carried back to Babylon.

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Faced with that gruesome news, Hezekiah dies not long after. His son, Manasseh took the throne. Manasseh was nothing like his father, unfortunately. He committed hella sins in the eyes of Lord. Hella. Apparently, he was worse than the foreigners that the Israelites had pushed out to take over the Holy Land. He was worse than king before him or since. He worshipped foreign gods, built altars, sacrificed his children and spilled so much innocent blood that he “filled Jerusalem from end to end.” So not a nice guy.

And God gives one of His, “I’m gonna kill the shit out of you” speeches. Only this time He won’t even waste his time on dogs chewing carcasses; this time He will “wipe out Jerusalem as one wipes out a dish.” God is just real over everyone’s shit. Manasseh lives out his life (he rules for 55 years) and eventually dies, his son Amon becoming the new king.

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Amon was just like his father, and before he had ruled for very long some of his officials assassinated him. His killers chose one of Amon’s son to be the new king, his name was Josiah. Luckily for everyone involved, Josiah did not take after his father. Josiah, like David, walked in the ways of the Lord.

Josiah began to repair Solomon’s temple, sparing no expense to make it as beautiful as it had once been. While working on it, the books that held God’s laws were found. Upon reading it, Josiah realized how evil his people and been. He tore his robes and wept. Josiah sent for a prophet; the prophet told him that God would not turn his fury away from Judah, even though Josiah was a great king. God told Josiah how seriously dead he was going to make everyone, but He did take some pity on Josiah. God allowed that Josiah would live out his life in peace, but once he died, serious shit was gonna go down.

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Josiah went on a rampage. He destroyed everything that had made God angry. He even went into parts of Israel that Israelites no longer lived in and destroyed temples and altars to foreign gods there. He slaughtered eunuchs and priests who worshipped other gods. He also held the first Passover in Israel since the times of the judges. Josiah held to God and His laws as no king ever had or has.

Still, it was not enough. The Lord would not turn from his anger and still intended on destroying Jerusalem and Judah. And Josiah didn’t even get to live out his life in peace like he was supposed to. The Egyptian and Assyrian Kings came together to attack Jerusalem. Josiah was killed in battle but the city was saved. (For the moment.) Josiah’s son, Jehoahaz, became King of Judah.

Jehoahaz was not a great dude and did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Before long, the Egyptian Pharaoh kidnapped Jehoahaz and took him to Egypt, where he died. The Pharaoh also placed a harsh levy on Judah and replaced Jahoahaz with his son, Jehoiakim. The new King had to tax his people harshly to pay the levy. But the Egyptians were attacked and beaten by the Babylonians, who invaded and claimed Judah, taking the King as a vassal. When Jehoiakim died, he was replaced by his son Jehoiachim. He is pretty much the same guy in name and deeds.

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During the Jehoiachim’s reign, the Babylonians decided that kind of ruling over Judah wasn’t really good enough. They attacked and defeated the Israelites, carrying away all but the poorest in the land off to Babylon. The palace and temple were also ransacked. The Babylonian king replaced Jehoiachim with his uncle, Zedekiah, to be king over the poor Israelites whom  he had left in Judah to work the fields and vineyards.

Zedekiah wasn’t any better than the last two kings and did not walk in the ways of the Lord. He thought it would be a good idea to rebel against the King of Babylon. He was wrong. The Babylonians captured him. They killed all of his sons right in front of him, then poked out his eyes, then put him in shackles and marched him to the Babylonian king. The Babylonians also wrecked what was left of Jerusalem. They destroyed all of the important buildings, like Solomon’s temple and the palace, burning them to the ground. They also destroyed the wall around Jerusalem. The most important priests and commanders who had been under Zedekiah were killed. More people were carried off and taken to be slaves.

Over those very poor, very few still left in Israel, the Babylonian king appointed a governor. That governor was assassinated by the remaining Israelites, and they fled to Egypt in fear of the Babylonians. Once a new, friendlier king took over Babylon, Jehoiachim (still alive apparently) was let out of jail and allowed to sit at the king’s table for the rest of his life.

Apparently, this is what happens when you spend generations ignoring the guy who saved you from slavery. God had just absolutely had it up to his eyebrows and was over it. He sent His people away, He “thrust them from his presence.” And now they’re back in slavery; they’ve come full circle, and everyone has learned their lesson right? I highly doubt it.

Kings Who Would Make Henry VIII Say, WTF?

2 Kings 1:1

Ahaziah, Ahab’s son, is now king of Israel. He’s also a special kind of stupid. He hurts himself falling through a lattice in his palace, so he asks some servants to go to a foreign country and ask the prophets of the god Baal if he will recover. On the way, the servants run into Elijah. Elijah tells the servants that Ahaziah’s injury will not heal, because he sought to ask help from a foreign god instead of God god. When the servants go back and give Ahaziah the bad news, he sends an army commander and 50 men after Elijah. In return, Elijah sends down fire from God and consumes the men. So Ahaziah sends out more men. And Elijah burns them up with fire too. And Ahaziah sends out more men. Luckily, the commander of these men is smart and begs Elijah to have mercy on them. So Elijah allows himself to be taken to the king. Elijah tells Ahaziah that he will die in the bed where he lies, and he does. And then his son, Joram takes the throne.

Some time later, Elijah and Elisha are hanging out together, and God summons Elijah to another city, because God wants to take him up to heaven “in a whirlwind.” Elijah tried to leave Elisha behind, but Elisha will not leave his side. This goes on for a while, Elijah trying to ditch Elisha, but it never works. Finally, God tires of Elisha’s puppy-dog habits and separates the two with a “chariot of fire and horses of fire.” And while Elisha is distracted with the flaming chariot, God takes Elijah into that whirlwind thing. The spirit of Elijah stayed with Elisha, and he was able to part a river and walk through on dry land (Elijah did that too; I might have glossed over that.) When the other prophets saw that Elisha could do this, they bowed down to him. The prophets looked all over for Elijah, thinking God might have put him back down somewhere but couldn’t find him. Duh.

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Here’s a fun story: Elisha’s walking around, as prophets do, and he came across a bunch of “youths.” The kids jeered Elisha, calling him “baldheaded.” Not overreacting at all, Elisha brought down a curse and killed the 42 youths. Fun guy, huh?

Anyway, there was a foreign kingdom, Moab, that had been forced to pay tribute to the King of Israel, currently Joram. But Moab revolted against King Joram. So Joram gathered an army, talked Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) into joining him and marched to Moab. Once there, God tricked the Moabites into thinking that the Israelites were all dead, so the Moabites went out to scavenge the dead bodies. The Israelites, of course, were not dead and routed the Moabites. Then they slaughtered everyone, destroyed all of the cities, threw stones on the their fields, cut down all of the tress, and stopped up all of the springs. How mankind survived this period of history is just completely beyond me….

After that war, a widow who had lost her husband begged Elisha’s help. She said that her husband’s creditors were coming to claim her son’s to pay their debts. Elisha rigged up a special oil jar that would continually fill other jars. She was able to sell her supply of oil to pay off her debts, and she and her family lived off of the rest.

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Then Elisha did an even cooler miracle trick. There was an old woman who always invited Elisha in to eat with her and her husband. In thanks for the woman’s kindness, Elisha told her that in a year’s time, she would be pregnant. She was doubtful, but of course Elisha was right and she soon had a son. But before long her son died. The woman ran to Elisha and told him what had happened. Elisha went to the boy, prayed to God for the young child’s life and the boy was revived.

Elisha did some other cool stuff, feeding tons of people with a small amount of grain, curing food of plague, curing someone of leprosy, giving someone leprosy, Jesus-type stuff. He even performed miracles for foreigners, gaining followers for God outside of Israel.

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Enough about prophets, back to the kings. We are up to Jehoram, King of Judah. He’s an ok guy, but he marries one of Ahab’s daughters, which is a no no, because Ahab was the Israeli king who allowed the worshipping of Baal. God really hates that guy. Jehoram dies, and we move onto his son, Ahaziah. Also an ok guy, but gets a bad wrap just for being related to Ahab.

Ahab was so naughty, that God decides he isn’t done with him, even though the guy is dead. God speaks to Elisha, who appoints another prophet to go to  man named Jehu and anoint him as the new king of Israel, instead Ahab’s descendants. One teensy catch, Jehu has to kill Ahab’s entire family. This is, of course, not a big a deal, and Jehu gets to it immediately.

Jehu gathers an army and kills both Joram, King of Israel, and Ahaziah, King of Judah. I don’t know why both kings were together. I just don’t. Then Jehu went after Jezebel; he talked three of her eunuchs into throwing her out of her own window. That wasn’t good enough though, horses trampled her and dogs ate her flesh until little was left besides her skull. Jehu continued his rampage throughout the countryside, killing all who had any ties to Ahab or Ahaziah, the deceased King of Judah. He had the children of Ahab slaughtered, their heads sent to him in baskets. He left their heads in piles by the city gate. He then called all of the followers of Baal together, pretending to want to worship and sacrifice to the foreign god. Once all of Baal’s followers were together in the temple to sacrifice to him, Jehu sent in his men to slaughter all of them. As tough as he was on the followers of Baal, Jehu, like his father, worshipped golden calves instead of God. Still, God was fairly happy with him for ousting Baal form Israel. Then Jehu died and his son, Jehoahaz, took the throne.

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Meanwhile, in Judah, when Ahaziah’s mother found out that the king was dead, she went on a rampage, killing all who had claim to the throne. A priest managed to save one of Ahaziah’s sons, Joash, and hid him away. Ahaziah’s mother claimed the throne for herself, but the priest brought Joash before the people and they crowned him as the king. Then the priest had Ahaziah’s mother dragged out of her palace and publicly executed. Joash was seven when he claimed the throne.

Joash seems to have been a pretty good king. He “walked in the ways of the Lord,” and raised money to fix the damage to Solomon’s temple, though he did not completely do away with the worship of foreign gods among his people. Then some of his commanders killed him, and his son Amaziah took over.

Back to Israel, Jehoahaz isn’t the greatest king. Even though he just helped destroy Ahab’s family and Baal, he and his people still insist on worshipping idols and foreign gods. God gets angry and causes them to be conquered  and enslaved by another nation. Jehoahaz begs God to reconsider, and God takes mercy on the Israelites, freeing them. They of course, continue doing what they were doing, worshipping idols and stuff.

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When Jehoahaz dies, his son Jehoash takes over. Jehoash is like his father and does evil in the eyes of the Lord. He wars with a bunch of people, including the Amaziah, King of Judah, and then he dies. His son, Jeroboam II succeeds him.

And Elisha dies. While he was being buried, the men digging the holes got scared when they saw riders coming at them. They dumped some dude’s body on top of Elisha’s body and ran for it. Luckily for the dead guy they hastily threw on top of Elisha, his body sprang to life as soon as he touched Elisha’s skin. The has to be the best miracle ever, because Elisha did while freaking dead.

Swtiching to Judah, Amaziah is currently reigning. He is like his father, mostly a good guy but does not end the worshipping of idols and foreign gods. He doesn’t do much except getting into war with Israel, who tore down part of the wall around Jerusalem and stole gold from the temple and palace. Afterward, Amaziah, like his father, was killed by his own conspiring commanders, and his son Azariah took the throne.

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In Israel, Jeroboam II is king. He sucks, his people piss God off. They are defeated and forced into slavery until God feels bad for them, at which point He saves them. Again. Then Jeroboam II dies and Zachariah takes over. Zachariah sucks too, and he is assassinated in public by a guy named Shallum, who becomes the new king. Shallum reigned for only a month before he was, in turn, assassinated by a guy named Menahem. After claiming the throne, Menahem attacked a city for not opening its gates to him. He killed everyone in the city and surrounding vicinity, he even “ripped open the pregnant women.”

Menaham, you will not be surprised to find, was no better at being king than those before him. He did not walk in the ways of the Lord. He had to buy off the king of Assyria, in order for his people not to be made slaves, and then he died. His son, Pekahiah, followed him as king. Pekahiah was soon assassinated by Pekah, who claimed the throne.

Pekah was also a bad king, though he did gain some territory and cities for Israel. But he was also assassinated before long and a man named Hoshea became king. Hoshea continued the long line of awful Israeli kings. He failed to continue to make payments to the Assyrian king, as the last few kings had done. In response, the King of Assyria laid waste to all of Israel, sending the Israelis to live as slaves in Assyria. And I think this time God means business, because it is pointed out that Hoshea is the last King of Israel.

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In Judah, things were going a bit better. Azariah was, like his father before him, a decent guy, but he also failed to rid Judah of foreign idols and gods. Because of this, God struck Azariah with leprosy, and he was forced to hide himself from his people. Meanwhile, his son Jotham ruled the people of Judah.

Jotham did slightly better than his father, he did not oust the foreign idols, but he did manage to rebuild part of the temple that had been destroyed when attacked by Amaziah, King of Israel. When Jotham died, his son Ahaz took the throne.

Ahaz is a dick, straight up. And did not walk in the ways of the Lord. In fact, he sacrificed his own son to foreign gods. In order to protect Judah from enemies and attackers, Ahaz paid the King of Assyria large sums of money, even going to Damascus to visit the foreign king at one point. While there, Ahaz drew sketches of the altars there and sent the sketches home, so that they could be recreated. Many parts of Solomon’s temple were removed or destroyed to make the temple more like those that Ahaz had seen in Assyria. When Ahaz died, his son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.

Holy boring, Batman. I think the second half of 2 Kings will be slightly most exciting, because the Israelites are in Assyrian bondage, and Hezekiah seems to rule in Judah for more than a paragraph. Keep your fingers crossed; I know I will.

Dogs Will Eat Your Dead Body – and Other Fun Threats

1 Kings 12:1

Solomon is dead. The Israelites gather in Jerusalem to crown their new king, Rehoboam, but before doing so, they have a question for him. Will he be as harsh to them as his father Solomon had been? Apparently Solomon was not very well liked by his people. Though he had ruled in a time of peace and plenty, he had worked his people raw and taken much of the wealth for himself. Rehoboam asked the Israelites to give him three days time to decide his answer. That right there should have pretty much answered it.

In the interim, Jeroboam discovers that Solomon has died and returns to Israel from his hidey hole in Egypt. Rehoboam consults Solomon’s advisers about the Israelites’ question; they tell him to be kind to the people, and they will forever be his servants in return. But Reho doesn’t like that answer, so he asks his friends instead. They tell him to be an asshole and work the people harder than even his father had. Being an idiot, Reho decides to go with the second suggestion. When Reho tells the people, “My father made your yoke heavy: I will make your yoke heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions,” the people didn’t react very well. Reno escaped, but the Israelites stoned Reho’s forced labor advisor to death on the spot.

When the Israelites find that Jeroboam has returned, they made him king over Israel instead Reho. For fairly obvious reasons. Except for the tribe of Judah. As promised, Reho got to keep that tribe. Of course, that doesn’t satisfy Reho, and he begins to gather an army to fight the rest of the Israelites and regain his title. Luckily, before he can start on his campaign, God tells the people not to war with one another, for Reho losing the kinship is His doing. So everyone just settles down and the war never happens. Which is close to amazing.

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Pretty much as soon as the turmoil dies dow, Jeroboam decides to do something completely asinine. He fears that because the temple is in Jerusalem, his people will go there to worship God, and they will turn their allegiance back to Reho. So he makes golden calves and creates shrines to them. This, obviously, is a sin and really stupid considering God just made him the king over Israel.

As you can guess, this ends well for no one. God sends a prophet to Jeroboam to let him know that God is going to ruin his calf shrine. And then God does, like right after the prophet tells Jeroboam. Then the prophet goes on his way. God had told the prophet not to stop to eat or drink at anyone’s house, but another prophet tricks the first prophet into doing so. I don’t know why. And the first prophet ends up dead in the road, killed by a lion. The other prophet who had tricked him into eating and drinking at his house found out and felt really shitty for lying and getting the other prophet killed. He went and collected the body and buried it, requesting that he be buried with the man he had gotten killed. Pointless story? Absolutely.

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Jeroboam doesn’t learn his lesson. He makes more shrines and begins appointing all kinds of people to the priesthood. And then his son gets really sick. He sends the boy and his mother to the prophet who had told Jeroboam that he would be king. The prophet told the boy’s mother that the boy would die (he does). And also Jeroboam is going to lose the kingship, his whole line while be killed, and birds are going to pick their eyes out and stuff. Long story short, it does not look good for Jeroboam. But then he gets to rule for a like 22 years and dies naturally. One of his many others sons, Nadab becomes the new king.

Meanwhile, Rehoboam is also sucking at being a king. His people (the tribe of Judah) are also worshipping other gods and setting up altars to them. There were even *gasp* male shrine prostitutes. Jero and Reho boams war with each other constantly. But they both suck and no one wins. While they’re at it, Jerusalem is attacked by the king of Egypt, who wins and carries off the treasure in Solomon’s temple and palace. Afterward, Reho has to settle for bronze shields instead of the gold ones Solomon had made for the temple in his time. Times were tough, ya’ll. And then Reho dies, and his son Abijah takes the throne.

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Reho’s son, Abijah, does pretty much nothing throughout his reign. Or he might have. Every time the Bible recounts what a king of Israel has done, it ends with something like this: “As for the other events of Abijah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?” I don’t know, Bible, you tell me. Are they? I’m assuming so. Unfortunately, the annals of the kings of Israel and Judah have both been lost, so no one really knows. Anyway, Abijah was as awful a ruler as Rehoboam bad been, and then he dies. His son, Asa succeeded him.

Asa, unlike his father and grandfather, walked in the ways of the Lord. He got rid of the male sharing prostitutes, the altars and other stuff that had been set up to honor other gods. He also warred with Israel throughout his reign, going as far as to buy the help of foreigners to help and defend himself against the armies of Israel. Then he dies, and his son Jehoshaphat is made king of Judah. We’ll come back to this.

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Ok, now back to Nadab, the king of Israel. Like is father, Jeroboam, Nadab did evil in the eyes of the Lord, worshipping other gods and stuff. The people of Israel followed his lead. This made God really angry. Baasha, son of a prophet plotted against Nadab. While the Israelite army was besieging a Philistine town, Baasha killed Nadab and was crowned the king of Israel. Baasha celebrated his kingship by killing everyone related to Nadab, which was the Lord’s wish.

Baasha was no better than Nadab, unfortunately. He also did evil in the eyes of the Lord. God sent a prophet to Baasha, telling him how super dead he was gonna be and how dogs would eat the carcasses of his family. It didn’t really happen. Baasha lived out his life, died naturally, and his son, Elah, succeeded him.

Elah, on the other hand, did have a very short reign. He reigned for only two years before Zimri, one of his chariot commanders, plotted against him. Zimri killed Elah in his own palace and then killed every male relative of Elah’s. Zimri reigned for only seven days. The army had crowned their commander, Omri, as the new king of Israel. When Zimri heard this news, he burnt the palace down around himself in protest. Also killing himself. In protest.

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Apparently, Omri had detractors; Israel was split into two factions, one behind Omri and other behind a man named Tibni. But Omri’s followers were stronger, and Tibni was killed, securing Omri the crown. Omri was a worse king than the ones before him, and he did evil in the eyes of the Lord. When he died, his son Ahab took over the throne.

Ahab was a bigger douche than everyone else combined. He worshipped other gods, built alters, and even married Jezebel, a foreigner and worshipper of Baal. God decided to send a messenger, Elijah, to Ahab. Elijah told Ahab that there would be drought in Israel unless Elijah said otherwise. Then Elijah went and hid by a brook that God had told him about, where ravens would feed him.

Eventually, Elijah’s stream dried up, so God told him to go to the house a widow, who would feed him. So he did, and God provided food so that Elijah, the widow and the widow’s son would have enough to eat throughout the drought. After staying there for quite some time, the widow’s son became sick. The widow asked why Elijah had brought such a curse to her. Elijah felt bad, took the child up to his room and begged God to return the child to health. God heard Elijah and did as he asked. After this, the widow was comforted that Elijah was a man of God and not a curse on her house.

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Back in Ahab’s palace, things were not going well at all. His wife, Jezebel was methodically killing off God’s prophets, the drought had not stopped and the city was out of water. Ahab summoned his advisor Obadiah to go out with him and search for water. They parted ways, Obadiah looking one way and Ahab the other. On his way, Obadiah met Elijah. Obadiah was not happy. He was afraid that Ahab would kill him for bringing back Elijah. And Obadiah had been faithful to God, hiding prophets from Jezebel and giving them sustenance.

Luckily for Obadiah, Ahab did not kill him for bringing back Elijah. Not that he was happy to see Elijah or anything; he immediately blamed the drought on Elijah, to which Elijah pointed out that God had been the cause, not him. Then Elijah suggested to Ahab that he bring all of his people together to decide once and for all who the true god was. Elijah claims to be the last prophet of God (I don’t know what happened to all of those that Obadiah supposedly saved), and he set up two altars. A dead animal was placed on each altar but not lit on fire. Then Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a duel; each side would try to summon their god to to the altar, who should then set it on fire. Baal’s prophets tried all day, dancing and begging Baal to show himself to them. Elijah taunted them constantly, saying stuff like “Maybe he’s sleeping.” Elijah is a bruh kind of guy. But no matter what the prophets of Baal did, they could not summon their god. It took Elijah, of course, like five seconds to summon God. The fire of the Lord burnt up the sacrifice, and suddenly the Israelites realized that they had fucked up really badly.

The Israelites all agreed that God was the true god, and they would never ever stray again. I’m guessing this lasts less than a decade. Still, God showed mercy, and it finally rained in Israel. Then, Elijah led the Israelites in “slaughtering” Baal’s failed prophets.

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Ahab, meanwhile, fled home to Jezebel. When he got there, he told her what Elijah had done. At which point, Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah telling him that she was gonna kill him real dead. So Elijah fled. His journey was way far, so he decided to give up and die under a tree instead. But an angel of God come to Elijah and gave him food, which strengthened him and he finished his journey. When Elijah got to where he was going, the word of God came to him. Go back, He said. Find a guy named Elisha (yeah, Elisha’s a dude) and anoint him prophet. Oh yeah, and kill everybody who served Baal, which is all but like 7,000 of my people. God also wanted some kings anointed, but I’ll bring those guys up if and only if anything comes of this later.

When Elijah came through, Elisha was plowing with his oxen. He wanted to go with Elijah, so he killed his oxen and burnt the yoke. Extreme? Maybe. Back at Ahab’s palace, some random king was besieging his capitol city. The foreign king demanded that Ahab hand over all of his gold and riches and also his wives and children. To which Ahab said, ok. But then the foreign king demanded that Ahab let him search the palace and take anything he wanted, and that was too far for Ahab. His kids, ok, but not his other random shit. So the foreign king attacked. But God decided that He to wanted Ahab to win. No idea why. And Ahab won. The foreign king was all, They only won because they have a hill god, and we attacked them in the hills. We need to attack them in a valley, where their hill god will have no power. Obviously, that didn’t work out well for the foreign king. His army was defeated, and he was taken hostage and forced to make a treaty with Ahab.

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Unfortunately for Ahab, God really wanted that foreign king dead, which Ahab had not done for Him. So of course, death threats had to be made. But it comes to not. God seems to like idle threats. Instead, Ahab decides that he wants some guy’s vineyard, but the guy won’t give it to him, because it was his inheritance. So Ahab pouts like that prince in The Emperor’s New Groove until Jezebel notices. When she finds out why he’s pouting, Jezebel basically calls him a pansy and takes matters into her own hands. She basically has some guys accuse the vineyard owner of cursing the Lord’s name, so that the people stone him. Afterward, when Ahab finds out, he’s pumped and goes immediately to play in his new vineyard. While there, Elijah comes up, calls Ahab a murdered, and makes the same old threats about everyone in his family dying and being eaten by dogs. At this, Ahab fasts and pouts some more. God takes pity on Ahab and decides to punish his heir instead of him.

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Remember Jehoshaphat? The last king of Judah that we read about? He and Ahab decide to quit trying to kill each other, come together and go kill someone else instead. The two kings consult a bunch of prophets, who all tell the kings that they will be successful in battle. But one prophet says that Ahab will die; God made the other prophets lie, because He really wants Ahab dead. You would think God could do that on His own, but…? Ahab ignores the naysayer and goes into battle anyway. He dies, of course. Like a little shit too. He made Jehoshaphat wear royal robes, while he wore regular garments, knowing that the other king really wanted him dead and would be looking for those robes. At first, Ahab’s plan worked, but the foreign army quickly realized that Jehoshaphat was not whom they were after. Ahab was killed by some random dude’s arrow. And dogs licked up his blood. So, I guess God’s threats weren’t completely idle, just slow in coming. Ahaziah succeeded Ahab as king.

Jehoshaphat, as you might remember, was a good king, walking in the ways of the Lord. He did not, however, completely rid Judah of altars to foreign gods. He was (for an Israeli king) mostly peaceful. He built some ships, but they all sank before they got anywhere. Then he died, and his son Jehoram took the throne. What all did he do? Only those damn lost books could tell us.

Ahaziah, Ahab’s son and king of Israel, was Jezebel’s son. So he was evil. Really evil. We’ll come back to him, next time, in 2 Kings. Sorry this was so fucking long. I feel like a just ran a marathon. The end.

 

Solomon: The Pimpin’est Pimp in Pimpdom

1 Kings 1:1

David is way old now. Super old, I’ll prove it. In his old age, he can’t stay warm even covered in blankets. His servants decided that what they needed was a super-hot virgin to take care of David and warm him using her body heat. So they do. The super-hot virgin cares for and warms David. But they don’t do it. That’s my proof that David is way old: his failure to put his dick in something proves it.

One of his sons, Adonijah, decides he is going to be the next king. Adonijah is super-hot too. Like Absalom, Adonijah decides that they best way to prove he should be the next king is by running around the streets with chariots and horses and other impressive things. The parade thing works if you want to be royalty, I saw it in a Disney movie once. He won the following of some important priests, sacrificed some animals and declared himself king.

The prophet Nathan went to Bathsheba (the woman David killed a dude for) and warned her of Adonijah’s doings. Luckily for Bathsheba, she had managed to have another son after the one God killed in retribution for David killing her first husband. The child’s name was Solomon. Supposedly, David had promised Bathsheba that Solomon would be the next king of Israel. So when Nathan told her what was happening, they both went to David to ask why he was allowing Adonijah to claim his throne.

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David decided to keep his word to Bathsheba. He instructed Nathan and his other priests to take Solomon and anoint him as king in view of the people. Then they were to sound the trumpets and make a loud racket about Solomon being the new king. Adonijah was in the middle of throwing a big party when the trumpets sounded. When Adonijah found out what they meant, he became scared for his life, and it totally ruined his party. Solomon had Adonijah brought to him in the palace. Adonijah bowed down to Solomon and recognized him as king, so he was allowed to go free.

And now we come to David’s death. Before he died, David told Solomon to be strong and to walk in the ways of God, keeping His laws and requirements. Then David gave Solomon a list of people he wanted dead but didn’t kill, because he was afraid God would punish him. He asks Solomon to “bring [their] gray head[s] down to the grave in blood.” By list I mean two people. Joab, for killing Amasa for no reason (I guess David still doesn’t know how Absalom died) and that guy who yelled at David to get off of his lawn. Because if you’re too chicken shit to do your own killing, you should definitely have your son do it for you. Good call, David. And he dies. Do you remember those last words that David spoke from the last book? Me either.

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Adonijah, realizing that he is never going to be king, decides to ask for something else instead. He has Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, go to Solomon and ask for that super-hot chick’s (who warmed David with her own body) hand in marriage. When Bathsheba went to her son to ask the favor, Solomon told her that he would not deny her whatever she asked. But he did. And not only did he refuse to give Adonijah the super-hot chick, he killed Adonijah for good measure.

Then Solomon kicked a priest out of the priesthood, because the guy had supported Adonijah’s bid for the kingship. Then he killed Joab. In a temple no less. Joab refused to come out, so Solomon’s servant had to kill him right in front of the altar. And remember that old guy who David wanted dead? Solomon told the man to build a house in Jerusalem and never leave the city. So they old guy did that, but one day two of his slaves ran away. Since the blood-thirsty, racist laws of the old South were thousands of years away, the old man couldn’t rely on others to capture and return his slaves, so he had to go do it on his own. When Solomon discovered that the old man had left the city, he waited patiently until the old man returned with his slaves, then promptly killed him.

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Solomon made peace with the Egyptians and married the pharaoh’s daughter. I thought the Israelites weren’t supposed to marry/make babies with foreigners, but… this is the king and the rules in this book change constantly, so who knows. In a dream, Solomon asks God for a “discerning heart.” Because Solomon had not asked for longevity, honor or wealth, God decided to give him all of those things, plus the discerning heart, which would help Solomon rule and judge over his people.

The discerning heart wish was pretty worthwhile. Solomon could get right to the bottom of the he said, she said bullshit. Two prostitute came to Solomon; they had each had babies within a few days of each other. One of the babies had died, and they argued back and forth in front of the king about who’s baby was alive. Solomon suggested that they cut the remaining child in half, and each woman could have a piece. One woman cried out, wanting the child given to the other woman instead of killed. The other woman seemed cool with the idea. Based on this, Solomon knew that the first woman was the true mother of the living child and gave the kid to her. We also know from this that the second woman is an idiot and awful person.

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Solomon was way smart, and this was recognized by all of his subjects, as well as foreigners. He became highly sought out for his wisdom and guidance. He was also rich as hell. The Israelites were in a time of plenty, and Solomon made sure he got his cut. It was also a time of… wait for it… this doesn’t happen very often… you probably won’t believe it… peace. PEACE in Israel. Apparently, everyone in the region was tired of destroying each other and finally chilled the fuck out.

Due to the peace in the nation, Solomon decided that they finally had the time and resources to build a real temple to God. Like an impressive one. Solomon cut a deal with a king in Lebanon in order to receive the necessary lumber. And a lot of craftsmen and workers are thrown at this. A lot. Pretty much all of them.

At this point, 480 years have gone by since the Israelites settled in the promised land. The temple was about 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It was a quality structure, nothing could fit between the stones, and the stones were cut at the quarry. No tools were used on the stones at the actual construction site. The inside was completely covered in cedar. It must have smelled damn good. Damn good. Then he pretty much covered everything in gold. Because rich guys love to do that. And the place was incredibly decorative. Cherubim (those creepy naked flying babies) were carved into pretty much everything.It took the Israelites seven years to build the temple. Here is a picture:

templesolomon

Did I not tell you that the guy went nuts with the gold? It looks like Midas was trapped in there for a least a year.

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If you think what Solomon built for God is super impressive, you should see what he built for himself. It took Solomon thirteen years to build his palace.

solomonpalace2.jpgThis place makes the palaces in Austria and England look adorable.

And Solomon furnished the hell out of the temple. Everything that was to be used in the temple were pretty much either gold or bronze. Once Solomon was sure that that everything you touched in the damn place would leave a nasty fingerprint, they brought the Ark thing and placed it in the temple. Then the Israelites sacrificed so many animals that they couldn’t be counted, and the spirit of God filled the temple.

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Once God’s spirit filled the temple, it was time to dedicate the hell out of that temple. To kick things off, Solomon makes a really long prayer to God. Mostly, he talks about how great God is and what God should do. Apparently, you can boss God around as long you use the you’re so great sandwich method: You are the best God; if your people sin and you punish them, you should forgive them as soon as they realize what they did and apologize; you’re the bestest God ever; you should make sure my kingship lasts forever; you’re the bestest God ever times infinity. See how that works?

Next, it’s time to kill more animals. 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats to be exact. And that was just for one part of the temple. There were plenty of other sacrifices for the other parts of the temple. The people partied for seven days and nights and were then sent on their way. Hopefully with their heels in their hands and some random dude’s shirt on their backs.

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After everyone else went home, God came and spoke to Solomon. He took Solomon’s bossiness in the earlier prayer more as suggestions. God talked about the promise He had made to David, that David’s line would never be broken and would forever rule over Israel. Sorta. That would happen, God said, as long as Solomon, his heirs and the people they ruled over always obeyed God. Otherwise, it’s back to slavery and sadness. Promise or no promise, God will fuck their shit up.

Solomon seems to have done little with his kingship other than force slave labor to build some impressive structures. He gave a couple of cities to the guy who had supplied the lumber. Then he gained a city that had been gifted to him and his Egyptian wife by the Pharaoh. Any foreigners living inside the borders of Israel that Solomon and his people could not “exterminate,” were forced into slavery. He also had a bunch of ships built. It doesn’t say where these ships go or what they do, but they come back with money, so let’s just assume they spend their time pillaging, like pirates.

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Remember when I said that Solomon’s fame had spread pretty far outside of Israel? I wasn’t kidding. The Queen of Sheba (many agree that she was the queen of Ethiopia, but no one really knows) heard stories of Solomon’s wealth and wisdom and decided to see for herself if those stories were true. She visited Jerusalem, bringing with her a large retinue and a lot of rich stuff to give to Solomon. She was incredibly impressed with him and wanted him to mansplain pretty much everything to her. Then she gave him all of the rich stuff and went home.

Solomon continued gaining more and more wealth. Kings from surrounding lands sent him riches, and his fleet of ships came back regularly carrying everything from gold to baboons. Pretty much everything he touched was gold. Like a less-orange Trump with real hair. In fact, he was the richest king in the world at the time. The Bible double pinky swears it.

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Solomon was also rich in something else, ladies. Solomon had a penchant for foreign women. He knew God had warned the Israelites not to intermarry with foreigners, because they would turn them from Him, but Solomon gives zero shits and marries whomever he wants. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And probably at least 1,000 STDs. I’m surprised his dick didn’t fall off. As it was, he began to turn from God and worshipped many of the foreign gods his wives worshipped.

Being a jealous a shit, God is not happy with Solomon. He vows to strip Solomon of his kingdom. Because of God’s love for David, God decides that instead of just taking Solomon’s kingdom from him, He will take it from his heir instead. And God will let Solomon’s son keep one tribe, that way God technically will not have broken his promise, because David’s it still king. Sort of. So God began raising enemies against Solomon. One of those enemies, Jeroboam, was a hard worker and very popular. Through a prophet, God told Jeroboam that he would be the next king over Israel. Besides the one tribe Solomon’s line would retain, everything else would go to Jeroboam. Solomon found out and tried to have Jeroboam killed, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt and hid there until Solomon died.

Which is now, Solomon is dead. No speeches, no mourning. Just dead. His son, Rehoboam succeeded him as king, at which point he will presumably lose the kingdom except for this one scrawny tribe.

Up next, more king stuff.

 

David Gets His Comeuppance. Except Not.

2 Samuel 15:13

While fleeing his capital city, David sent some men who were faithful to him back to Jerusalem. He hoped that they would be able to infiltrate Absalom’s inner circle and weaken his rule. Along the way, David and his people passed a household that was from the same tribe as Saul. The man of the house came out and cursed David as they walked past. He threw stones and dirt at them, saying “Get out you man of blood, you scoundrel!” It’s about time someone said it. David’s men wanted to kill the man, but David decided he had bigger problems than some old dude yelling at him to get off of his lawn. Plus, maybe God would look kindly on him for not killing the man. Like how you would reward a child for not being a wailing lunatic in public for once.

Meanwhile, Absalom arrives in Jerusalem. One of the men that David had sent back to infiltrate the new inhabitants of the palace, suggested to Absalom that he should sleep with the concubines that David had left behind in his flight from the city. Because (supposedly) that would prove to the people that David really didn’t like Absalom, which would (again, supposedly) strengthen his position. David must have been really disliked by his people. So, Absalom’s servants pitched a tent on the roof, and Absalom  pitched a tent in his pants. No really, he “lay” with David’s concubines where the people of Jerusalem could watch. God did warn David that someone would overthrow him and public humiliate his wives for something they had no part in.

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Next, one of Absalom’s advisors suggests that Absalom should send men to attack and kill David. But Absalom doesn’t listen and asks the advice of one of the men that David had sent back to be a plant. The plant tells Absalom that he should not attack David with just his men, because David is a bad ass and will probably win. Instead, says the plant, Absalom should bide his time, collect all of Israel together to form an army and then attack. Absalom listens to the plant, because God wants it that way.

Once Absalom’s advisor realizes that the king has not listened to his advice, he quietly leaves Jerusalem for his own home, puts his affairs in order and hangs himself. Eventually, Absalom gets his army all ready and moves out to attack David and his men. David apparently has a bigger entourage than I thought, because it talks about him putting commanders over his “hundred of thousands” and sending them out to battle Absalom and the Israelite army. I don’t know where he got these people; the man is basically in exile, running for his life. But he has them.

David stays behind but tell his commanders to make sure and treat Absalom kindly and protect him, for David’s sake. Unfortunately, for Absalom, he decides to ride his donkey through a forest and get his head stuck in a branch. He’s just hanging there, like an idiot. Joab, the army’s commander hears about it. He personally puts three javelins through Absalom’s heart and ten of his men added theirs as well. Then they threw him in a pit and piled rocks on top of his body, just to make double, triple sure. Like if you killed Freddie or Jason.

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Joab sends a foreigner back to David to break the news. An Israelite wanted the honors, but knowing David’s penchant for killing people with bad news, the foreigner was sent. Strangely, it was unnecessary. David was so upset that he forgot to kill the messenger, instead he ran inside the city he where he holed himself up and wept.

Once Joab got back to where David was staying, he told David to suck it up. David’s men had won him a great battle, but here he was blithering like an idiot. Joab insisted that the men would view it as David’s love for his wanker, father-hating son over the men who had fought bravely in his name. So David quit the waterworks and went to the city wall to greet his men. (David apparently never finds out who killed his son or how he died. I know this because he doesn’t kill Joab.)

Slowly, David earned back the love of the Israelites and returned to his throne at Jerusalem. He puts the concubines that Absalom had slept with in a guarded house, where they died, living as widows. But, for whatever reason, a fight breaks out between the priest tribe, Judah, and the rest of the Israelites over whether or not David belonged more to the one tribe or the whole nation. A Benjamite, Sheba, began a revolt against David, and the Israelites (except the tribe of Judah) left David’s side once again. He must just be an even bigger asshole than this books lets on, seriously….

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David sent a servant, Amasa, out to gather the men of Judah to fight Sheba and the rest of the Israelites. When Amasa did not return on time, David’s commander Joab did it instead. While moving the army in Sheba’s direction, they came across Amasa. It doesn’t ever say why Amasa took so long to gather the army, and no one seems bothered to find out. Instead, Joab greets Amasa as a friend, goes to kiss him and plunges a dagger into him instead. It’s quite graphic; his intestines spill out on the ground and he wallows around in his own blood until someone drags him off of the road and covers him up.

Joab and his army moved on toward the city where Sheba and his followers were staying. Joab began to siege the city, but a woman came out and begged that he stop. Joab told the woman that all he really wanted was Sheba. If she would turn over this one man, Joab promised to spare the city. The woman appealed to  the people of her city, and they threw Sheba’s head down to Joab from the city walls the next day. Satisfied with their severed head, Joab and his men dispersed.

Then there’s a random breakdown of people in various positions under David. It isn’t interesting except that they have a guy who is actually in charge of “forced labor.” Like, there’s enough of it that they need a a guy to oversee it. So there’s that.

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During David’s reign, there were three continuous years of famine. When David asked God, wtf?, God answered that the punishment was on account of Saul. Apparently, Saul killed some people he wasn’t supposed to kill, and even though he was dead, God was still vexed. So David went to the people whom Saul had wronged, the Gibeonites. The people agreed that if David were to bring them seven of Saul’s male descendants to kill, they would make amends.

So David went out and found seven male descendants of Saul’s (mostly the sons of Saul’s daughters). He chose to spare Jonathan’s son as a testament to his oath with Jonathan. David brought Saul’s descendants back to the Gibeonites, and they were promptly killed and left on a hill to be viewed be whomever would want to view some dead kids strewn about. God seems to be pleased with the death of these kids, because the famine ended promptly after that.

Around this time, David also found out where the bones of Saul and Jonathan had been put after their bodies were taken down off of the Philistine wall and buried them properly. Afterward, there were a bunch of wars with the Philistines, just for old time’s sake. A bunch of people died. David almost died, so his men forbade him form fighting with them ever again.

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In the midst of David’s not killing any Philistines boredom, he decided to sing a song. It’s really long and pretty much boils down to: I am the greatest, I am the greatest because God is the greatest, God makes me the greatest because I am free from sin, let those not free from sin die violently. Never mind that episode where David had a man killed so that he could steal that man’s wife. Free from sin, people.

After the song, the last words of David are recorded. His last words pretty much mirror the song we just talked about. But David doesn’t die at this point, so I don’t know why his last words are important just yet. Then there are some stories about the men David fought with. They’re just a bunch of guys who killed a lot of people. Three of them, in the middle of battle, risked their lives by running through enemy lines to get water from a well that David wanted. When they successfully brought it back, David decided he couldn’t drink anything for which his men had risked their lives. Asshole.

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Aaaaaaaand God’s mad at the Israelites again. No one knows why He is mad, but He decides to “incite” David to have the Israelites men who be eligible to fight in the army counted. So, David sends out his men to do just that. All together, Israel had 130,000 able-bodied men. Once David gets his numbers, he decides that he was very wrong to ask that this be done. I think because David should have trusted God to have multiplied their numbers enough to defeat any enemy. Something like that anyway.

David goes to God and begs forgiveness. God offers him three choices for how he can be punished: 1) God will send three years of famine 2) David will be forced to flee from his enemies for three months or 3) God will send three days of plague. David picks the plague, because he’s an asshole who wants to punish everyone for his crime (that God incited him to and then punished everyone for). Only after 70,000 people died, and the angel of the Lord was destroying Jerusalem, did David decide not to be an asshole. He pleaded with God that God punish him and not his people. Whom he called sheep. So it’s a nice gesture, but he’s still an asshole.

God asks that David build an altar on the spot where the angel of the Lord had stopped when destroying Jerusalem. He burnt some animals up, and God ended the plague. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Next up, 1 Kings. I would give you a teaser, but I have no fucking clue what it’s about. Kings maybe.

Tales of David’s Ever-Erect Penis

2 Samuel 1:1

When David gets back home from killing a bunch of Amalekites and rescuing his and his army’s kidnapped families, a man arrives. He tells David that he was on the battlefield with Saul and his sons. Apparently Saul did a shitty job of falling on his sword, because the man describes it more as “leaning” on the damn thing. So Saul asked the man to finish the job, and he did. The man also tells David about the death of Jonathan. Apparently, David is a kill the messenger type of guy. Because he does. Then he and his army tear the hell out of their clothes and weep for quite a while. Then David wrote a lament for Saul and Jonathan, and ensured that it would be kept and taught to all priests.

In one part of the lament, he says of Jonathan, “Your love to me was wonderful, more wonderful that that of women.” I mean, come on!!! How much more evidence do we need?! The best love story in the Bible so far is between two men. End of story. If these two weren’t blood-thirsty wankers this would be an epic romance!

Anyway, soon after, David is proclaimed King over Judah (the priest tribe). Apparently, Saul had a son tucked away somewhere who wasn’t killed in the battle with the Philistines, because he is soon made king over Israel. So now this kid and David are both kings over part of Israel, and both would like to be the king of the whole thing. So they set up a battle between 12 of David’s men and 12 of the other guy’s men to fight it out and see who would get the throne. The men each “grabbed his opponent buy the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side.” Sounds messy, right? There was also a lot of chasing and weirdness, but in the end David wins. It doesn’t really decide anything, and the two men continue to war with one another.

3:6

Over time, the House of Saul becomes weaker, and his son really pisses off his main commander (he accuses him of sleeping with Saul’s concubine). So the commander, Abner, decides to switch allegiances. David is more than happy to accept Abner’s help, but there is one thing he asks for. He wanted Saul’s daughter, his wife, back. I mean, the guy cut off a lot of penis skin for that lady. So Abner gets her back for David, and they become a team.

David sends Abner out to talk the Israelites into accepting David as their king. While Abner is out wondering around, David’s head commander, Joab, finds out that David is trusting Abner and does not approve. Jealousy maybe? Probably. Also, Abner killed Joab’s little brother, so there’s that. Joab goes behind David’s back and kills Abner. David is not happy about this news and pretty much puts a curse on Joab and every future generation of his family. Forever. Forever ever.

Back to Saul’s son, the kind-of king of Israel. Two guys decide they’ll get in really good with David and kill the king. They cut off his head and bring it to David. David is not amused that they have killed an innocent man and has them killed as well. David has their hands and feet cut off and leaves the bodies hanging by a pool.

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Once the kind-of king is dead, all of Israel recognizes David as the one and only king of Israel. Finally, now that probably half of Israel is dead from the back-and-forth fighting. Then David goes and captures Jerusalem (not sure why he has to “capture” it since he’s the king of all Israel, but…), and makes it his capital. Then he built himself a palace and made a lot of babies. King stuff.

David decided to have that Indiana Jones Ark thing (I’d like to continue calling it by the nickname I gave it, Indy, but it is possible that your ability to actually read what the fuck I’m talking about might be more important than my personal glee at calling it that) brought to the city. On the way there, it almost fell off of the cart, and a man held out his hand to catch the Ark thing. Once he touched it, the Ark burnt him up, and he died. That really freaked David out, and he decided it would be best to keep the Ark thing in someone else’s house, so he made a friend keep it. But God blessed the house where the Ark has being kept, so then David decided he wanted it and moved it into his own city. He “danced with all his might” leading the cart into a tent that had been erected for the Ark thing.

God spoke to a prophet serving David, telling him that He promised not to give the Israelites over to other peoples as slaves. He would build a house for them that would last forever. And David and his line would be rulers of the people forever. God promised not to leave David as He had done with Saul. If David were naughty, God would punish him but never dessert him. I don’t know about you, but I’ll believe that when I see it.

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The love story continues! David seeks out anyone remaining form the house of Saul, because of his love for Jonathan. David finds out that Jonathan had a son, who had gone into hiding and was crippled in both feet. David found the son, gave him all of the land that had belonged to Saul, and provided him with servants to tend to him. He was also invited to eat at David’s table anytime that the child chose to attend. Swoon.

David hears that one of Israel’s neighbors, the Ammonites, had lost their king, so David sent a delegation of men to express grief to the new king. The Ammonites, knowing David’s past, were wary that the men were there only to show sympathy. Given that David’s favorite pastime was wasting people left and right, I’m not surprised that the Ammonites were distrustful. The new Ammonite king decided not to trust David and his men, so he shaved half of the men’s beards, cut off their robes at the buttocks and sent them home way embarrassed. David formed an army and kicked their ass. You don’t embarrass David’s dudes. He will kill you.

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Come springtime (that’s siege season), David sent his army back to the Ammonites to lay siege to another city that he had yet to destroy. David stayed behind. One night, he was walking around the palace rooftop and saw a woman in a courtyard below, bathing. He thought she was way hot and had to have her. He found out that her name was Bathsheba, and that she had a husband. Husband, shbusband. He had his men bring her to him, detox her since she was unclean from having another penis in her, and then he banged that hot chick. And sent her home.

Unfortunately, as often happens when men carelessly bang everything they think is hot, not thinking about the consequences, Bathsheba became pregnant with David’s baby. It was time to do something drastic. David sent her husband to where his men were sieging the Ammonite city. He also sent word to his men to put the husband on the front lines and basically try and get him killed. It worked, and the husband was killed in battle, like asap. Then David married Bathsheba and all was well.

Except it wasn’t. God was not happy with David. He sent a prophet, Nathan, to David with a message. Nathan told David a story about a rich man who had everything one could want who took the lamb of a poor man who had nothing. David was furious at the story and said the rich man should die for doing something so awful. To which Nathan replied, you’re the rich guy, idiot. Also, God is going to take your wives and give them to someone else, someone who will bang them in public. Plus, He’s gonna kill the son that Bathsheba just carried for you. God was a good as his word, and David’s son died seven days later.

David mourned by creating another baby with Bathsheba. And then going to help his army besiege that city. They took the town and collected a lot of plunder, including a cool crown with precious gems for David.

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One of David’s sons, Amnon, decides he has the hots for one of his sisters, Tamar. One day, he pretends to be sick and requests that Tamar be sent in to feed and care for him. Once they are alone, Amnon asks Tamar to sleep with him, she (knowing that’s gross and fucked up) refuses. But Amnon is stronger than she is, and he rapes her. Once he is done, his feelings of love become loathing toward his sister, and he call servants to have her taken out. Tamar tells one of her other brothers, Absalom, what has happened. She lives the rest of her life in desolation.

Absalom is furious when he finds out what Amnon has done. He plans a trip for himself and his brothers. While away, Absalom has his men kill Amnon and then flee to hide from his father’s wrath. When David found out what Absalom had done, he was furious, but he eventually got over it. What’s one less son in the grand scheme, right? He invited Absalom back to the city but refused to see him for years. But David could not stay away from his beloved son forever and invited him back into the palace, where David forgave Absalom of his past grievance.

But Absalom is either bitter, power hungry or both, because he begins to make plans to overthrow his father. He buys horses and chariots and other displays of health to boost his popularity with the Israelites. He also treats the people very kindly, helping out any who need it. Plus, he was hot as hell, apparently. That always helps. Over time, Absalom won the heart of the people, and he had himself announced as king of Israel. David, knowing the power that Absalom had, fled his palace and the city of Jerusalem.

Find out the thrilling conclusion of the dispute to kinship between David and his son next time!

 

Never Mind, Don’t Call Saul

Samuel I 16:1

After the fall of Saul, Samuel felt sorry for him. God told Samuel to get over it, because there was going to be a new king to anoint. Samuel was afraid that Saul would find out and kill him, but God told him to do it anyway. He sent Samuel to a man named Jesse, because from Jesse’s sons, God would pick the next king. Apparently, God had learned His lesson about picking the tallest man to be king (Saul), because He pointed out to Samuel that He should not consider the “appearance or height” of the chosen king; while men judge the outside, God judges the heart,” God says.

What follows is straight out of Cinderella. Mice sing while creating an ephod for the new king. No they don’t, but Jesse parades his sons in front of Samuel, and God rejects each one. This all ya got? asks Samuel. The youngest son, Jesse says is not there, he is out with the livestock. And of course that’s the one God wanted, so they bring him in and announce that he will be king. David, the new king is David.

We’re not done with Saul (he’s still the damn king by the way. I don’t know). God sent an evil spirit to torment him, but he found peace in the music of a harp. One of his servants said he knew the perfect guy to come play the harp for the king. It happened to be none other than David, so David came and played for Saul. Saul was very pleased with David and made him an armor bearer.

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So the Philistines and the Israelites are fighting again. Big surprise, right? Still to this damn day they are fighting. This time, the Philistines are tired of slaughtering lots of people, when just one guy could get slaughtered and settle the fight. So they sent out a champion, Goliath. He’s so freaking big, that he is actually named Goliath. He was over 9-feet tall and armored from head to foot. He called out to the Israelites asking them to send out their own champion. Whomever lost got to be enslaved to the winners. Goliath was scary as hell, and no one would step up to fight him.

David’s three oldest brothers were amongst the Israelite army facing the Philistines, and one day, he was sent to the front lines with food for his brothers. While there, David heard about what awaited the man who could defeat Goliath. Saul, the king, would give the man great wealth, his daughter and a tax-free lifestyle. David liked the sound of that and volunteered. Saul was like, No way, you’re freakin’ tiny. But David was sure of himself. He said he had fought lions and bears protecting his father’s sheep (sheepherding is way more dangerous than I imagined), and he would prevail.

Saul tried to put armor on David and a sword in his hand, but David wasn’t having it. He went out to do battle with only his staff, his slingshot, and some stones (actual stones, not balls). You know this story. I know you know this story. Against all odds, David hits Goliath with a rock from his slingshot and prevails, because God was on his side. What you may not know is that David then cut off Goliath’s head and dragged it around with him everywhere afterward. Also, they didn’t just enslave the Philistine army as agreed, they slaughtered them. As usual.

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Saul became jealous of David and his popularity. Still, he kept his promise and offered his oldest daughter to David, but David refused thinking himself too low. So then Saul offered David his second daughter, but she would come with a  price. To become Saul’s son-in-law would cost David just 100 Philistine foreskins. Yep. Penis skin from a bunch of dead guys. Saul was hoping that David would die in his quest for penis skin, but alas. David brought back 200 foreskins and was married to Saul’s daughter. Saul reaaaaaaaaaaaally hated that guy by this time.

Saul hates David so much, he decides to have him killed. Saul’s son, Jonathan, was very fond of David (we’ll talk more about this in a minute), and talked his father out of it. Saul promised not to try and kill David. Remember that evil spirit God sent to Saul? Yeah, still there, and it makes him break his promise to Jonathan. Luckily, for David, he’s married to Saul’s daughter, and she alerts him to Saul’s plot. Because of her, David is able to escape. Saul follows David, but the spirit of God comes upon him, and Saul started prophesying. Lying face down in the dirt, babbling like a madman for hours. Thereby, allowing David to escape again.

David runs back to Saul’s son, Jonathan. David tells Jonathan of his father’s plans, but Jonathan doesn’t believe him. Before long, Saul returns and makes it very clear to Jonathan that he does intend to kill David. So Jonathan warns David and helps him to escape again. Earlier I mentioned that Jonathan was quite fond of David, but it looks like it may be a lot more than that. They made an oath to one another, and their souls were bound together. Sound familiar? In fact, when Saul is trying to get David to marry his daughter, he talks about how that would make him his son-in-law in twain, meaning twice (this part of the line is actually omitted from the version I’ve been reading, but there are many, many references to it online). There are a few other lines that suggest a definite romance between the two, but I’ll leave you some fun in finding those for yourselves. Anyway, before David leaves to escape Saul, the two men kiss and weep together. There have been a lot arguments back and forth regarding whether or not David and Jonathan were gay lovers. Seriously, look it up. It’s a thing.

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David escapes to another town, enters the temple and talks to the head priest. He lies and says that he is there on Saul’s order, then requests food and a sword. The priest gives him consecrated bread and the sword of Goliath (which just happens to be stored there). Then David flees to the next city. Saul follows David and finds out that the priest gave aid to David. He has one of his men kill the head priest, as well as 84 other priests working in that temple. Then he had his men put the entire town to the sword. Just in case someone had given him directions, or something.

Meanwhile, David has found some Philistines to fight and saves a town. Then Saul and his army chase David and his army (everybody has an army) around the desert like an old-school cartoon. At one point, Jonathan finds David and tells him that he will “be king over Israel, and I will be second to you.” I’m taking that as Jonathan wanting to be queen to David’s king, because the romance between these two is way more swoon-worthy than anything in this book so far.

One day, Saul wondered into a cave by himself to take a pee. David and his army happened to be hiding in that cave. David could have easily killed Saul, but he spared him, because God had forbidden him to do any harm to his master, the anointed of the Lord. That didn’t stop David from telling Saul all about how he could have killed him but didn’t, because he is righteous. Saul takes that to heart, realizes he’s been an ass and makes on oath to David to stop being an ass. Then they go their separate ways. Over, you think? Far from.

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Next, there’s  weird story about this guy who disses David, and so David and his men sword up to do some killing. But that guy has a hot wife, who hears that David and his men are coming. She meets him in a mountain ravine, and begs him not to let with the killing. She says that her husband is an idiot, and if David were to kill him, he would have unnecessary, idiot blood on his hands. David thinks she’s hot and agrees to pretty much whatever she says. When the woman goes back to her husband to tell him what happened, he goes stiff like a stone, and God kills him. David hears and is happy that God did the killing for him. He’s also happy that the woman, Abigail, is now single. And marries her. And another lady. But his original wife, Saul’s daughter, has been given to someone else, so he’s back down to two wives.

And Saul is real over not trying to kill David. He decides to have another go, collects his army and heads out. David finds Saul’s camp while the men (Saul included) are fast asleep. He sneaks in and steals Saul’s water jug and spear and sneaks back out. He once again refuses to kill Saul, because he believes that God would not be amused. Plus if God wants him dead, He is more than capable of doing that Himself. Once Saul finds out, he’s all weepy and sorry again and goes back home.

David realizes that Saul will probably try to kill him again, so he decides to go hide amongst the Philistines. You know, those people he’s killed thousands of. They take him in and give him his own city. While living there, David spends his time raiding outlying cities and killing everyone in them. As Israelites are so fond of doing.

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Oh, and Samuel died. No, I’m not underselling this, he gets zero fanfare. Before his body even cools, Saul decides to consult a medium (just as Samuel had rid Israel of naughty things like that, which God doesn’t like.) He’s worried because the Philistines have shown up again, wanting a fight. This time David is fighting on their side. The medium (the Witch of Endor, how cool is that?) found for Saul brings up Samuel’s spirit (so mediums actually can talk to dead spirits, they just aren’t popular with God). Samuel tells Saul that David is gonna kick his ass and take the kingship. Saul falls not he ground, prostrate with fear. Saul is a bit of a drama queen.

Apparently, not all of the Philistines were happy to have David and his army with them; probably the ones without memory loss. So David was sent back to his city without taking part in the fight against the Israelites. Once David got back to his city, he saw that it had been burned by Amalekites. David chases after them, determined to destroy them. And he does; he kills pretty much everybody. Luckily for David, the Amalekites only kidnapped the women and children instead of slaughtering them, so everybody got their families back. Happy endings for everyone, except for the Amalekites, who have been pretty much wiped out at least three times now.

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Meanwhile, the Philistines are completely destroying Saul and his army. They kill all of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan. Saul is injured by an arrow and decides to fall on his own sword instead of letting a bunch of uncircumcised cretins do it for him. The Israelites fled their cities, and the Philistines took them over. They also cut off Saul’s head, stripped him naked and hung his and his son’s bodies on their city walls.

Next time, we’ll read David’s heartbreaking reaction to the death of his beloved. It’s going to rip your heart out; I’m already emotional.